How to write a compelling business plan (Part 1)

Ever wondered if your business plans are as compelling and persuasive as they could be? For many top executives and entrepreneurs, a business plan is the most important document they will ever write. Yet business plans are seldom written as persuasively as they could be.

Why? It’s often
because the executive summary (the only part most people read) isn’t compelling
enough. If you believe that your company’s executive summary is strong
enough to “sell itself”, you may want to think again.
An executive summary
is your one chance to tell a story that will excite and impel time-challenged
investors to sit down and actually read your Plan. Perhaps you’ve heard the
expression, “the facts will speak for themselves.” It’s mainly used
in the context of legal proceedings. But while an experienced judge might be
swayed solely by the facts of a case, facts alone will hardly win a case
presented in front of a jury. That’s because people need to hear a story — the
full story — before they make a decision. Even the most hardened financier can
be tipped towards your side of the fence if he or she reads a compelling story
shaped around facts. We know that people “buy” based on emotion, not
just logic. Even business buyers. 

A winning business plan takes the facts and shapes them into a compelling story

So how do you write a
winning business plan? Rethink your executive summary and make it unique, says
Eric Markowitz in Inc. magazine. After interviewing a number of experts in the
field he summarized what he learned in How to write an executive summary.
For example, a great summary tells us
what makes your company unique or exciting? Do you already have customers and if so, why? Is your marketing plan special? Does it differentiate your product or company in a unique way? These are some of the questions raised in Markowitz’s
article. It’s well worth a look.

But what about the
storytelling techniques behind a winning business plan? I will discuss them in detail in Part 2.

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